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Designing MFI-based catalysts with improved catalyst life for C₃ ⁼andC₅⁼ oligomerization to high-quality liquid fuels

Corma, Avelino, Martínez, Cristina, Doskocil, Eric
Journal of catalysis 2013 v.300 pp. 183-196
catalysts, crystallites, fuels, olefin, propylene, zeolites
Light olefin oligomerization is an important alternative for the production of clean liquid automotive fuels and can be performed in the presence of solid acid catalysts. Among these, medium-pore zeolites, and especially ZSM-5, have been widely described in the open literature. In this work, the relative importance of intracrystalline diffusion path lengths for the product molecules (depending on the zeolite crystal size and the presence of mesopores in the crystallites) and Brønsted acid site density are discussed for two different olefins, propene and 1-pentene. Thus, ZSM-5 samples with (a) the same crystallite size and different acid site density, (b) the same density of acid sites and different crystallite size, (c) postsynthesis generation of mesopores by different desilication severities, and (d) samples with similar crystal size, mesoporosity, and acid site density, but with a different ratio of external to internal acid sites have been prepared and studied for oligomerization of propene and 1-pentene. The results obtained suggest that the properties required for a best-performing catalyst (maximum conversion and lowest deactivation rate) are different for these two alkenes. Whereas Brønsted acid site density is determinant for propene oligomerization when intracrystalline diffusion path lengths are below a certain critical value, the presence of a large number of Brønsted acid sites is not sufficient in the case of 1-pentene, and additional mesoporosity becomes crucial. Thus, mesoporous ZSM-5 samples prepared by postsynthesis desilication treatments present a greater improvement in initial conversion and catalyst life for 1-pentene oligomerization than for conversion of propene.